Greyhound racing does not get any better than this Thursday night at Sandown Park. The action-packed eleven race card offers a tantalizing treat for enthusiasts with the Group one Sandown Cup heats highlighted by the return of champion bitch Miata whilst the best Australian sprinters will also congregate for the running of the group one Sapphire Crown and the group two Harrison-Dawson.
The latter will be the first feature final to fly being race six with eight sensational males vying for the $100,000 first prize at 8:58PM.
BOX ONE: Coming up with the coveted cherry box is the former New Zealander CLONE YOUR OWN who has managed to sneak under the radar and into the final after a dominant heat win last week. The son of Irish sire Droopy's Marco began moderately from box six and with plenty of room to move in the early stages, charged his way into the top spot around the first turn clocking a blistering 29.41 seconds ahead of Irmy Bale. Since joining the astute kennels of Robert Britton in April, the black speedster has barely put a paw wrong winning three of his five starts with a third placing also to his name. Another point worth noting about this bloke is that he has never drawn the one after eighteen starts and whilst he holds an impeccable record from out wide, box one is the enviable box to have in big races. The under rated dog in the series who has a great chance of holding a vital position on the rails and could be a serious contender for the prize.
BOX TWO: Ever consistent three year old Irmy Bale has drawn well in box two for legendary trainer Graeme Bate. The son of Go Wild Teddy and Amity Bale ran a fantastic race last week flashing home to finish one and a quarter lengths off Clone Your Own after the leader set up a big margin down the back. As a winner of 23 races and with a brilliant record from the checks Irmy Bale is right in contention for this event. The biggest thing working against him is that it often takes him a few strides to hit top gear; however there is not an enormous amount of speed drawn around him so he should get every chance.
BOX THREE: Champion Queensland veteran Glen Gallon proved that his age was not affecting him last week when qualifying for the final in the fastest time of the four heats (29.39 seconds). The red brindle son of Flying Stanley is a multiple group one winner ( 2011 Winter Cup and 2011 Brisbane Cup) whilst he has been placed in five other group one final (2nd in the 2012 Melbourne Cup, 2012 Silver Chief, 2012 National Sprint Championship, 2012 Brisbane Cup, and ran third in the 2012 Group 1 Temlee). The Tony Brett prepared greyhound has won 34 races from 61 starts including his last four in succession and with six victories from box three he is the one to beat. A win in the Harrison-Dawson would also propel his stakes earnings to over $603,000 and would firmly reinforce him in third position on the list of Australia's top prize money earning greyhounds.
BOX FOUR: The second of three runners for Graeme Bate is the well performed Schroder Bale who will be aiming to go one better than last week when defeated by Andrea Dailly's Garrick Bale. Beginning fast from box four last week, he found trouble early and was knocked back into fourth position before firing again on the home turn to finish three and a quarter lengths off the winner in second. The Dyna Lachlan pup has been racing competitively in good company of late but once again will have to raise the bar in this race with so much experience and talent spread across the field. The black and white dog is another youngster out of top producer Amity Bale who has qualified three runners into this week's final- a sensational achievement for any sire or dam to attain. As a good beginner he should be up there in the early stages.
BOX FIVE: Angela Langton will be hoping her Warrnambool Classic winner Premier Event can make it his second group two event in as many weeks when he lines up from the awkward box five. The white and black chaser began quickly in his heat last week and gave nothing else a look in clocking a slick 29.54 seconds for the 515 metre trip. The son of Premier Fantasy has won seven from nineteen and should be matching motors with Schroder Bale in the early stages. He definitely has the speed to lead and if he finds the front he will take some running down.
BOX SIX: Hurricane Isaac ran the best race of his life last week when finishing second behind Glen Gallon however this is a steep rise in class especially from box six. As a winner of eight overall from 26 starts including a nippy 29.66 seconds he is certainly an above average sprinter for Anthony Flores yet has only won one of his last eight starts and looks to have it stacked against it him in the final. Regardless of this, the black chaser is all heart and is capable of running a cheeky race. As a $900 purchase it would be one of the greatest rags to riches story if he could bag the $100,000 feature for his 65 year old mentor.
BOX SEVEN: Garrick Bale, another Paul Wheeler bred chaser will line up from box seven for Anakie's Andrea Dailly. The winner of the 2012 group one Peter Mossman must be respected as a winner of fifteen races including a triumph in last week's heats recording a hot 29.61 seconds over Schroder Bale. He also possesses a strong second section, however he will need to be up with the leaders in order to utilize it and with so much speed drawn ideally on the inside he will have to be at his best to challenge from the black. Despite this it would not be unlike the Wheeler's to produce a group winner at big odds.
BOX EIGHT: The last of Amity Bale's trio is Kevin Bale for you guessed it- Graeme Bate. The Lara trainer certainly knows how to put the polish on his team for the big races and there is no doubt Kevin Bale as well as Bates other two runners in the event will start being 110% ready for action. Kevin Bale has won 16 from 54 and ran home well behind Premier Event last week whilst he has won four races over the track and distance including a handy 29.59 seconds recorded last June. The 32 kilogram chaser has been racing consistently and is always thereabouts however he does prefer to be drawn closer the rails especially against such tough opposition.
1ST RESERVE: After finishing third to Glen Gallon in the heats, Nikita's Elite makes it through as the first reserve. A winner of nine from 33 who has plenty of talent but faces a tough test should he get a run.
2ND RESERVE: Boris Fields for Pearcedale trainer Jason Thompson has a good shot if he gets a run particularly if drawn towards the inside. A winner at Sandown in 29.36 seconds he must be considered if he gains a start.
2013 Harrison-Dawson Tips
3. Glen Gallon
1. Clone Your Own
5. Premier Event